TT Talk - Corner castings and Container Safety Convention (CSC)
Mike Compton also reported on an investigation into a container falling away from a front loading lift truck. This was caused by badly damaged corner castings on the container which did not arise from that particular lift but arose from some earlier incident. The metallurgy report indicated that the quality of the metal was correct and that the box was travelling under a properly authorised Continuous Examination Programme. As other corner castings have since been found in similar conditions in the same port, the Canadian report to DSC/12 recommended that there should be a review of the Container Safety Convention (CSC) of 1972 and also the ACEP provision within it.
CSC was adopted in 1972, having been developed in the late 1960s. Its aim was to impose a regime which will ensure that freight containers are maintained in a suitable condition to enable them to continue to be safely used in intermodal transport. However, it is undoubtedly true that in the intervening 35 years the numbers and use of freight containers have increased enormously and they are now used much more intensively than before.
With the ports industry handling an estimated 500 million TEU last year whilst the freight container population is approximately 21 million TEU, containers are now worked much harder than they were. Whilst the instances of damaged corner castings reported on by Canada were a small number and there was only one incident reported, the inspection reports from maritime administrations reported 2,500 approximately serious structural deficiencies and 600 CSC plate contraventions found in 2006 by the nine administrations making reports.
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TT Club has previously reported on incident experience whereby containers have dropped from lifting equipment during handling operations. Recurrence appears, as previously, to have nothing to do with the intrinsic quality of the corner castings. The reliability of the lifting process is critical.